Adrenaline sports are not everyone’s cup of tea, yet there are those among us who enjoy the sensation of being in the ocean so much that they pay for a deep dive with sharks. Others take to the skies in the hopes of jumping from a plane and, with the help of earth’s almighty gravity, plummetting to an almost certain death, only to be saved by a thin sheet of nylon fibers.
For those of us who prefer our death-defying stunts to be kept to the silver screen, here are ten of the craziest skydiving scenes Hollywood has ever produced. *Spoiler Alert*
Related: 10 Modern Stunts That Make Evel Knievel’s Look Tame
10 Deadpool 2
Our favorite vigilante has just recruited a mismatch of hero power, including a lightning cameo involving Brad Pitt. When still in the aircraft, Deadpool is kindly reminded by the affably named Peter that the winds are too strong to execute a safe landing. This turns out to be an absolute truth as the group is ripped apart by awkward landings and painful endings.
When the posse first exits the aircraft, they move into a basic skydiving formation known as Tracking. Surprisingly, it starts out with a realistic jump before everything from thereon goes awry. The wind flips them around like lotto balls in a tumble dryer until most of them meet their exaggerated violent demise. Ironically, this scene turns out almost exactly as one would expect when encountering strong winds on a jump.
9 Get Smart
Agent Maxwell Smart, played by Steve Carell—which is who you get when you cross Hitman’s Agent 47 and Michael Scarn—has again outdone himself with stupidity. In a series of unfortunate and painful events, he is ejected out of a plane, mid-flight, without a parachute but with his hands tied. While Carell is tumbling through the stratosphere, the real hero, Agent 99, played by Anne Hathaway, has enough time to gear up with a parachute and dive after Smart, managing to spot him between the clouds.
Enter the profiled bad guy who cuts up the chute, allowing them to again fall into harm’s way. Anne devises a plan to free them from the villain’s clutches by kissing him, causing him to plummet to his death. That allows her to pull her reserve chute and save the day. Men. *roll’s eyes*
8 Mission Impossible: Fallout
We all know Tom Cruise does his own stunts. Although only not everyone’s cup of tea, there is no denying the massive coolness factor of being your own stuntman. Regardless of whether the job involves jumping over buildings and shattering an ankle or the daredevil jump he did for MI: Fallout as Ethan Hunt.
No CGI was used at the start of the jump, and you can see it. They even built a custom face-lighted, oxygen-supplying suit out of parts from a C17 aircraft so that Tom could make the jump at more than 20,000 feet. Lightning strikes Ethan’s friend, and it turns into a race against time, space, and the very real possibility of a viewership panic attack. Attempting to re-supply his buddy’s oxygen and finally flipping him over so that he may deploy his suit, Ethan only has a few seconds to deploy his own.[3
7 Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle
Whenever you stumble upon a list of stunts from movies, you are sure to find the Angels somewhere on it, and skydiving is no exception. We are introduced to LL Cool J in the opening scene, calmly entering first-class and requesting a scotch, blended, straight. Then straight to business, he and his mark exchange code words before he offers up a handful of diamonds. LL requests to see the bomb—which, in this case, is not Lucy Liu’s backside—but rather an actual explosive device somehow snuck onto a plane post 9/11.
LL jumps to action, lifting the terrorist from his seat and out through the emergency exit (by the way, a physically impossible feat while the cabin is pressurized). Then comes the old “no chute, free-fall catch up, and hold on” stunt, the oldest trick in the Hollywood playbook. They safely land on a boat driven by Cameron Diaz in summer attire. The angels smile and laugh, then LL Cool J unveils himself as none other than Barrymore herself. Sneaky Drew.
6 Point Break
In the movie that some consider the breakout film for Keanu Reeves, the bank robbers take a dive into the open sky, with Reeves’s Agent Utah stranded on the plane with no parachute. Yes, you guessed it. Keanu no-parachuted it, straight out of the airplane after the bad guys—diving head first without protection, succumbing to the heat of the moment.
He can thank Zeus that he is able to spot his quarry, unaware of the chase, floating to Earth, and grabs hold. In a standoff with the earth and a gun, they play a reckless game of cat and mouse when finally Keanu budges and pulls the chute, barely in time to save their lives. Winded, with possible bone cracks, they survive the fall only to fight another day.
Godzilla, or kaiju, is a Japanese figure that has been wreaking havoc on the world since the 1950s. And the 2014 adaptation is no exception. As titans slug it out, a group of American soldiers teams up to perform a hail mary pass that might determine their own fate or the fate of the agitated giant as they fly high above the clouds in the clear.
The men light their flares and smoke signals and make the jump known as a “high altitude, low opening” or HALO jump. They descend into a figurative hell where monsters roam free, and people either run, fight, or bemoan the travesty that they might never again be able to keep up with the Kardashians.
4 Along Came Polly
Technically not skydiving, this scene involves a base jump from a building in LA. Although the movie is set in New York, acquiring permits for base jumps is incredibly tricky in NY. For that reason, they moved the shot to LA. Also, a more accurate portrayal of a base jump, especially the comedic elements, ironically is rooted in its realism.
Apart from the fact that his pack has no chute in it—an obvious flaw to notice if you are an experienced jumper or want to live through the stunt—the jump is pretty standard. And the undesirable tree landing even leads to a broken coccyx. The potential broken bone is communicated by walkie-talkie, which adds an additional layer of believability as base jumpers often make contact via two-way radio (or now cellphones) after a jump.
James Bond has been getting himself into sticky situations since before most of us were even born. In Goldeneye, he drives a motorcycle off a cliff as he tries to catch up with a nose-diving plane. The actual stunt was performed by a stuntman named B.J. Worth, and he executed the scene up to where James catches up with the plane and enters it.
The stunt, called plane swapping, has actually been performed by professionals where a jumper would exit a plane and enter another safely, all under the safety and protection of a piece of fabric strapped to their back like a possessive monkey.
2 Furious 7
When a film spins six sequels, you just know the stunts will eventually become almost laughable. Furious 7 is loaded with extreme explosions, drifts, and skydiving cars. That’s correct, yes. Cars, skydiving. Loaded in a cargo plane over the mountains of Azerbaijan, the crew reverse their cars out the back of the plane and calmly float to the ground.
The movie makes one grave mistake—it makes airdropping cargo look easy. The U.S. Army has gone to enormous lengths to come up with methods to effectively drop cargo without it getting damaging, spinning out of control, missing its target, or using more landing space than is available. Even so, it still makes more sense to simply land the plane and unload the cargo on the ground. There is no device that allows cargo to be dropped on exact GPS coordinates and no contraption that would make me more proud of the bunch of hood rats from the first film accomplishing their dreams.
1 The A-Team
After being labeled enemies of the state, the formidable team led by Col. John “Hannibal” Smith is hounded by attack drones, and their plane is taken out of the sky. The team takes refuge in a tank as the crippled plane is blown apart, with three chutes allowing them to float to the ground. Unfortunately for the crew, things take a turn for the worst as they are spotted and attacked again. Bradley Cooper, as Face, pops outside of the tank and takes out a few drones with the mounted gun before two of the parachutes are hit, hurtling the tank back to Earth with one remaining safety net.
Hannibal spots a water mass and devises a master plan to land in the water rather than crash into the side of a mountain by using the tank’s turret as momentum to push the vehicle to the water. They fire a few shots and crash into a lake in Switzerland and survive the ordeal. One of the most exhilarating and adrenaline-fueled sequences, which makes the “impossible” list for realism but definitely makes the list for entertainment. All in a day’s work for the A-Team.